A ferry carrying 423 passengers and 55 crew members caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu today as the vessel was sailing from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona, Italy.
Passengers and crew members were reportedly trapped on the top decks as gale-force winds and rough seas hindered the evacuation.
The fire broke out on the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic.
Unfortunately, one death and several injuries have been reported.
The Daily Mail has photographs and information about the fire.
Update: Hundreds remain on the ferry. The ship lost power long ago and cannot lower lifeboats. Helicopters are slowly medevacing passengers. The fire has been burning for 15 hours. The remaining passengers hare on the exterior decks, in cold weather with heavy smoke.
Newspaper is reporting that the ferry had multiple problems with its fire safety equipment and procedures (see below) and should not have been permitted to sail. See story here. However, the owner says that the deficiencies were promptly corrected and the ferry’s fire safety equipment and protocols were fully in compliance with maritime codes. See story here.
An excellent source of information about the fire is Crazy Cruises.
December 29, 2014 Update: A Fox News account reports that seven people are dead. The article states that one person died after becoming trapped in a liferaft boat chute.
December 30, 2014 Update: The Telegraph reports that there are ten deaths and Up to 43 still missing amid confusion over Norman Atlantic passenger list.
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Video Credit: CNN top; il Fato Quotidiano bottom. Photo Credit: italian Navy